'This Was a Fictitious Case': Aaron Schock's Corruption Charges to Be Dropped
Former GOP rep strikes deal with prosecutors.
Former Rep. Aaron Schock said federal prosecutors agreeing to drop corruption charges against him shows that it was a "fictitious case" from the beginning.
Prosecutors on Wednesday struck a surprise deal with the former Illinois Republican lawmaker during a status hearing.
Under the new agreement, Schock, 37, will have to pay $42,000 to the IRS and $68,000 to his campaign fund. If Schock holds up his end of the deal and stays out of trouble, the felony charges will be dropped in six months.
Instead of a felony charge, Schock's campaign pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of failing to report expenses properly.
Schock was indicted in 2016 on charges of misusing funds. He resigned amid scrutiny of his spending, including to redecorate his Capitol Hill office in the style of the television show "Downton Abbey" and flying on a private plane to attend a Chicago Bears game.
On "Fox News @ Night" Wednesday, Schock said he had been facing more than 20 felonies -- including wire fraud, falsification of election commission filings, mail fraud and theft of government funds -- so he was preparing to go to trial in June.
"We knew that it was a fictitious case. We knew that this started with a lead prosecutor who saw me as his path to stardom," Schock said. "In the absence of a crime, he then tried to manufacture crimes."
He said he feels vindicated that all the charges against him will be dropped and the only guilty plea came from his campaign organization for a misdemeanor.
He acknowledged that his campaign could have done a better job at reporting expenses, but he argued that those were just mistakes.
"But mistakes are not crimes," Schock said. "And I said then -- and it was proven today in court -- that neither I nor anyone on my staff purposefully violated any rules or any laws. So, the fact that the agency came forward today and said, 'We're dropping all of these charges,' I think speaks volumes."
When host Shannon Bream pressed him on his use of private air travel, he said that he took 1,078 flights over eight years and the government only took issue with two of them.
"So did we screw up two of them? Yes," Schock said. "But there is nothing illegal or improper about [private flights]. And I assure you, whether it's Paul Ryan or Nancy Pelosi or any of those leaders, when they have to fly around, they do it privately."
Watch the "Fox News @ Night" interview above, and see Bill Hemmer speak to the former congressman on "America's Newsroom" below.